International Institute of Sustainable Transportation

Monday, August 12, 2013

Democracy, Equality and Mobility

To travel is not for everyone. For some, it's because they don't want to. However for most people travel is essential in their everyday life, but some can't. This is for many different reasons - age, financial, health or other disability. Some people are not even allowed to travel due to political reasons.

Over the years I have been confronted with some opposition to automated transit networks with the argument "it will just add to the current traffic issues". Well, I think it is to some extent true. Or, to be more precise, I still think that an ATN system will reduce the load of other systems, cars or public. However, I do agree that it will actually add the total numbers of travel. This is due to the fact that ATN systems treats people more equal than other modes of transit. You don't need a timetable, driving license or special equipment to use a wheel chair in the Podcar. So for a lot of people who had issues traveling before, it is now considerably easier to move around. So yes, it will add to the current traffic, and that is a pretty good thing, not to forget to mention that it's the law in USA:

Mobility is also about democracy and political influence. If you can't get to where decisions are made, you likely will not be heard either. This mostly affects those that have disabilities, no driving license or can't afford a car. Yes, you can go to a local meeting on  a bus or light rail. But will it take you back home if the meeting goes on for a long time into late evening? Unfortunately not. So, you have to say "bye" way before the end of the meeting to catch your ride home and you are at risk not to be included in last minute decisions and forward planning. An ATN system can, like no other public transit technology, adapt to personal needs and give full service regardless of time of day, financial status or physical disability.

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